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Germany

Far-right politician convicted over racist World Cup flyers

A Berlin court has handed down suspended prison sentences to the head of the anti-foreigner NPD party for handing out pamphlets inciting racial hatred and defamation during the 2006 World Cup.

A cameraman films Udo Voigt entering the Berlin court building.

NPD chairman Udo Voigt has become a familiar face in German courtrooms

The district court judge handed suspended prison sentences to the head of the German right wing National Democratic Party, Udo Voigt and two other senior party officials for inciting racial hatred and defamation.

The three had circulated pamphlets during the 2006 World Cup, insinuating that a black player was not worthy to play for Germany's national team which they said should be made up of whites only.

The pamphlet referred to defender Patrick Owomoyela who was born of a German mother and a Nigerian father.

The flyers showed the German team's traditional white jersey imprinted with the No. 25 - worn then by Owomoyela - over the title: "White, not just a jersey color! For a real NATIONAL team!"

Suspended sentences

Voigt was given a seven-month suspended sentence, along with a party spokesman, Klaus Beier. The party's legal affairs head, Frank Schwerdt, received a ten-month suspended sentence.

All three NPD officials were ordered to donate 2,000 euros each to the UN children's fund, UNICEF. The three officials could have been sent to prison for up to three years.

The NPD party has many neo-Nazi supporters and is represented in two of Germany's 16 state parliaments, but has never won seats at federal level.

The party is in serious financial trouble after being fined 2.5 million euros earlier this month for filing incorrect financial statements.

An attempt to ban the party was failed in 2003 when the government application was thrown out by Germany's constitutional court.

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